“It wasn’t just big oil that knew about climate change decades ago.”
A new report shows conclusively that the coal industry was aware of the climate impacts of burning fossil fuels as far back as 1966—and, like other sectors of the fossil fuel industry with knowledge of the consequences of their business model, did next to nothing about it.
The revelation was published in an article by Élan Young at HuffPost Friday.
“It wasn’t just big oil that knew about climate change decades ago,” tweeted HuffPost editor Kate Sheppard.
— Kate Sheppard (@kate_sheppard) November 22, 2019
The story uses a discovery by Chris Cherry, professor of civil engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, to show industry foreknowledge of the ramifications of extractive technologies over 50 years ago. Cherry found the evidence in a 1966 copy of the Mining Congress Journal he was given by his father-in-law.
A 1966 article in the Mining Congress Journal shows that #CoalKnew about the climate risks of burning fossil fuels decades before the industry engaged in a campaign of climate denial that continues today https://t.co/JxxQw3HPxx pic.twitter.com/Wite2HesGw
— Dave Anderson (@cleantechfacts) November 22, 2019
In the journal, James R. Garvey, president of now-defunct research firm Bituminous Coal Research Inc., describes the future consequences of coal.
“There is evidence that the amount of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere is increasing rapidly as a result of the combustion of fossil fuels,” Garvey wrote. “If the future rate of increase continues as it is at the present, it has been predicted that, because the CO2 envelope reduces radiation, the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere will increase and that vast changes in the climates of the earth will result.”
Garvey added that the result of the changes in climate could include melting icecaps and rising seas.
“Such changes in temperature will cause melting of the polar icecaps, which, in turn, would result in the inundation of many coastal cities, including New York and London,” wrote Garvey.
“This is astonishing,” tweeted historian Brad Simpson.
The article sent shockwaves across the environmental movement.
“The entire fossil fuel industry knew about the risks of climate change and covered it up for decades all to make a buck,” said Earther reporter Brian Kahn.
As Young writes in her article, though, it’s difficult to know what the revelations in her reporting will result in as far as damages or accountability.
“Even as the Trump administration has promised a coal resurgence and rolled back Obama-era regulations, the industry’s profitability continues to experience a downward slide,” writes Young. “If the slogan ‘Coal Knew’ ever does take off, it’s unclear who’ll be left to sue.”
Ex-cops indicted in fatal shooting of Black woman and ‘public torture’ of Black man in separate incidents
Two former Mississippi police officers were indicted in the brutal beating of a Black motorist, and one of them was also charged in an unrelated fatal shooting.
Wade Robertson, 28, and Bryce Gilbert, 27, were charged with aggravated assault in the 2018 beating of James Barnett, and Robertson was also charged with manslaughter in the 2019 shooting death of Dominique Henry, reported The Laurel Leader-Call.
Quarantine, racial strife, Trump have Michelle Obama feeling down
Former First Lady Michelle Obama said she is suffering from "low-grade depression" from coronavirus quarantine, racial strife in the United States and the "hypocrisy" of the Trump administration.
Obama made the remarks in the latest episode of "The Michelle Obama Podcast" released on Spotify on Wednesday.
"I'm waking up in the middle of the night because I'm worrying about something or there's a heaviness," the 56-year-old former First Lady said.
"I try to make sure I get a workout in, although there have been periods throughout this quarantine, where I just have felt too low," she said.
Another watchdog at US State Department abruptly gone
The internal watchdog looking into accusations against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo abruptly quit Wednesday, just months after his predecessor was fired.
The State Department's acting inspector general, Stephen Akard, is a longtime aide to Vice President Mike Pence and his installation in May had widely been seen as a way to keep a friendly figure in the role.
Akard informed colleagues that he is "returning to the private sector after years of public service," a State Department spokesperson said.
"We appreciate his dedication to the Department and to our country."
But Akard's departure comes just as his office finalizes a report on Pompeo's controversial decision to bypass Congress to sell $8.1 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia and other Arab allies.